Portugal is well known for it’s beautiful beaches and warm climate. The best circumstances for a long vacation or a short trip. But there is one more reason to visit this beautiful country, the food! Last year we’ve been traveling through Portugal for three weeks and had the best time along the way. During our vacation we’ve also visited Porto for five days and I must say, we’ve fallen in love with the city. Not only our beautiful, serviced apartment that we hired trough By Oporto and the endless, lovely streets of the city, but also the food we ate there. There are tons of great restaurants and bistro’s and I’m going to share with you our favorites.
On our first evening in Porto we arrived late and it was around 22:00 when we headed down to Praca Ribeira in search for some food. We stumbled upon this little restaurant which was fully booked at that moment. However the owner told us that there’ll probably be a table available in about twenty minutes. It was such a nice atmosphere so we decided to wait for it. The owner served us a cold white wine while we were waiting. After 25 minutes we were welcomed at a nice table inside where we ordered fresh salmon with soy sauce, a beef steak in port sauce, black spaghetti with prawns and a marvelous chocolate cake with mandarin sorbet. Great food, friendly owner and a nice atmosphere for a fair price.
Really guys, this one is not to be missed. Located downtown on the North side of the Central Station São Bento. They are serving the most amazing dishes. It’s fresh, original and delicious. We didn’t make a reservation but were extremely lucky and got a table for two on the little terrace outside. To avoid disappointments we recommend to make a reservation though. It’s worth it. You should try the Foie Gras Toastie. Toasted bread with baked foie gras and topped with a pear poached in Moscatel wine. Divine! Also try the Wild Tuna Tataki. A quick seared fresh tuna fillet with some soy sauce, wasabi, and balsamic glaze on the side. Dessert wise you should not miss the Peanut Foam. Basically everything we saw leaving the kitchen counter looked amazing! Do yourself a favour, go there.
Flor dos Congregados
Looking for authentic, rustic, northern Portuguese slow food? Book a table, sit down and explore the most authentic dishes we’ve tasted during our trip. This beautiful, old stone house type venue is located in a small alley. It has a few tables outside and two floors of dining space inside. The ambiance is cozy, the wine is great and the rustic cuisine delicious. We started off with a charchuterie of local cheeses and cured, dried meat and ham. We also shared the simmered pork cheek which was so tasty and so tender.
After that I had the stew tripe. Tripas a Moda do Porto or Tripe in the style of Porto recipe is a symbol of the Oporto people’s generosity as according to the legend when Henry the Navigator was preparing his ships to conquer Ceuta in 1415, he asked the people of Oporto to donate supplies to stock the Portuguese navy and they did, in such an extent, that all that was left to eat was tripe. However, that did not mean starvation for the people; instead they used imagination to create this amazing recipe, which granted them the nickname of “tripeiros” or “tripe eaters”.
The husband had a beautiful beef stew with roast potatoes and some greens. The staff is really friendly and their wine suggestions are on point.
Bacalhau is a nice little place we went for lunch with an amazing view of the Douro and the old Port houses on the other side of the river. You can watch the boats pass by while sipping on a Port-Tonic and enjoying some finger food like we did. We’ve tried the Codfish chips with tomato sauce, Toasted cheese with bell pepper compote, Chicken liver pate with a reduction of red port and a Veal tartare. With some bread, butter, olives and olive/vinegar dip it was a great place to just chill a bit and rest your feet from wandering around the city.
While in Porto you should not miss the Port houses and cellars of Vila Nova de Gaia. We went to the Ferreira Cellars because it is the oldest one. The English guided tour takes about 40 minutes and gives a lot of information about the Ferreira family, the different types of Port and how it’s made. At the end there is a tasting which is really nice. We got to taste the Ruby, Tawny, a white port and a vintage port. We’ve never been in a port house or cellar and I think it is an really nice thing to do while in Porto. The whole place “breathes” history and a flair from the old days. The cellars are on the other side of the Douro. Since we didn’t want to go there by foot we went there with Uber which was about €7. After the tour and the tasting we took a walk back. The double-decker Dom Luis bridge is an icon of the city of Porto. It spans the River Douro linking the Port wine houses with the bustling downtown Ribeira district of Porto.
Last but not least. Francesinha, the signature dish of Porto. We just couldn’t leave this city without trying it. This twist on a classic French sandwich has been introduced in the 1960’s. It’s double filled with four or five different meats, covered in cheese en drowned in a tomato-like sauce. The secret of the sauce? No one really knows. Every restaurant has their own recipe and many of them claim to have the best Francesinha. After some research we have been told that Bufete Fase must be the one. Chef Filipe incorporates four meats into his sandwich including: sausage, linguica, roasted pork and steak. The sandwiches are made fresh (many restaurants make them in advance and heat them up upon order). There were quite some locals sitting at the other tables which is always cool while eating out in a foreign country. You can choose between the normal sauce and a spicy version. We took both to be able to compare and I must say that the spicy one was very mild, but of course, this is a matter of personal opinion and preference. After 20 minutes of waiting the Francesinha’s arrived. Hot and steaming with a cold glass of beer, just like the locals do. Our verdict? It’s not that there’s anything wrong with the sandwich. The quality and taste were really good, but it’s just too much. We ate the whole thing, but to be honest, we felt a little bit “dirty” afterwards. It’s not a light snack we’re talking about, so be prepared when trying one. I would say a Francesinha is definitely a must-try but if you’re not that big of an eater, share one.